Digital pink slips

~1000

What is it? The number of senior/mid level Infosys employees who might be asked to leave the company.

Why is it important? It comes on the back of news about layoffs at Wipro and Cognizant, and together they underline the pressure IT majors are facing on business and regulatory fronts. Wipro recently said that if the demand doesn’t improve it might let go of 10% of its employees. Last week, Cognizant announced a voluntary separation programme for directors.

Tell me more: A recent pressure for IT companies came from the visa restrictions imposed by the United States, the sector’s largest source of revenue. Infosys recently announced it would hire about 10,000 employees in the US in the next two years.

181

What is it? The number of wickets taken by cricketer Jhulan Goswami in one day international tournaments.

Why is it important? It makes Goswami the top wicket taker in women’s one day internationals. The position was previously held by Australian bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who held the record for nearly 10 years.

Tell me more: Goswami played a total of 153 matches and bowled 1238.4 overs, against Fitzpatrick’s 109 matches and 1002.5 overs. Goswami claimed the wicket of South Africa’s Raisibe Ntozakhe to break Fitzpatrick’s record. Goswami made her debut in 2002.

 

$40 million

What is it? The amount Vijay Mallya is said to have received from Diageo in February last year.

Why is it important?  In violation of Supreme Court directions to use the money to repay loans, Mallya allegedly transferred the amount to his children. The court now holds him guilty of contempt and has directed him to appear before it on July 10. Mallya is facing cases for default of about Rs 9000 crore in loans to various banks, and is in United Kingdom at present.

Tell me more: Efforts are on to extradite Mallya from UK. Enforcement Directorate is making an additional case for extradition on the evidence of money laundering.

 

277,000

What is it? The number of passenger vehicles sold in April in India, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Why is it important? This is up 15% from 242,000 vehicles sold in April 2016, indicating that the impact of demonesation is wearing off. Analysts believe that the pent up demand could push automobile sales further during rest of the year.

Tell me more: Passenger cars (excluding SUVs and vans) sales went up 17.36% to 190,000 units April, largely driven by compact cars. Buyers picked up 7.34% more two wheelers in April compared to year ago period. However, commercial vehicles and three wheeler sales dropped.

 

$1,747.89

What is it? The close price of cryptocurrency Bitcoin on BitStamp platform on Tuesday.

Why is it important? Crossing the $1700 mark is an important milestone for Bitcoin, which continues to face skepticism from several quarters. The currency hit its all time high by surging over 80% in value since the beginning of this year. Starting April, Bitcoins became a legal tender in Japan, where it is trading at $1835 a coin.

Tell me more: As Bitcoin’s price surge in the market, businesses increasingly see more value in blockchain, the currency’s underlying technology.

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News in Numbers, Mar 29, 2017: 🚗 Bangalore’s long commute 😳

Rs 6,193.9 crore

What is it? The value of Bharti Airtel’s stake in tower operator Bharti Infratel, sold to a group of PE players, including KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Why is it important? The funds will be used by the telecom operator, India’s largest, to reduce debt and become limber to take on competition. Net debt of company in the December quarter of FY17 rose to $14.4 billion from $12.2 billion in the previous quarter.

Tell me more: The deal values Bharti Infratel at 4% premium over Rs 312.55 closing price.

 

Rs 263.10 crore

What is it? The value of movable and immovable properties of Deccan Chronicle Holdings attached by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Why is it important? The value is 22% of the alleged loss caused by the media group to six public sector banks. The agency calculates a loss of Rs 1,161.93 crore, as the group understated previous loans and cooked the books to show fabricated income.

Tell me more: The case snowballed from the first complaint in 2012 when Canara Bank ran up losses of Rs 357.7 crore due to Deccan Chronicle’s alleged cheating.

 

10%

What is it? The import tax on wheat to be levied with immediate effect.

Why is it important? Wheat was seeing large overseas purchases as an import duty was scrapped in December, 2016. The reintroduction is being seen as a move to aid Indian farmers as they ready to harvest their crop this season. Biscuit manufacturers and flour millers were resorting to imports going into millions of kilo to meet a shortfall after two years of drought. Wheat import in FY17, till December, increased by 60% over the whole of FY16 in volume.

Tell me more: The import tax on wheat was 25% till last September, after which it was slashed to 10% till December.

 

Rs 260 crore

What is it? The amount Indian Railways has reportedly earned from the flexi-fare system, where ticket prices in premium trains go up (with a cap of 50%) as seats get filled up.

Why is it important? While the revenues went up (13 times more than expected), occupancy rates have come down in some premium trains. At present, the flexi-fare applied to 90% of the seats. Railways is now planning to bring it down to 50%, in an attempt to reduce vacant seats.

Tell me more: Flexi-fares were introduced in Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi trains last September.

 

47 minutes

What is it? One-way commute time for a Bengaluru tech worker to reach office, according to a study by Savills, a property consultancy.

Why is it important? It’s ranked worst among the 22 cities surveyed by the study, and explains the constraints faced by the tech companies in Bangalore. Once known as retirement haven, Bangalore’s journey as a tech city began in the 70s, and grew rapidly with the rise of outsourcing. It became a natural hub for tech startups as a result. The rapid rise has put pressure on its creaking infrastructure.

Tell me more: The study looked at five areas including business conditions, tech environment, quality of life and cost of accommodation to rank the cities. Overall, Bangalore is ranked 20. Austin, San Francisco and New York claimed the top three spots.

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News in Numbers, Dec 1, 2016: Can we replace the king?

Cash transactions rule in India. Over two-thirds of the transactions in India are done by cash, as per a report by CLSA. The government’s recent moves seem to be nudging people towards non-cash transactions. And, not all Indians are under the formal financial net yet. On Wednesday, the government appointed a panel to steer the country towards digitalisation. Will Indians be ready to embrace cashless transactions? How quickly can we do that? What about the security concerns? 


13

What is it? The number of members in a panel set up by government think-tank Niti Aayog to promote the use of digital payments.

Why is it important? It’s a part of the government’s efforts to make use of the cash crunch to turn people towards cashless payment options. Digital payments system comes with the advantages of transparency, traceability and accountability besides being faster, less inexpensive and more convenient. However, this also means battling security issues and easing concerns of consumers who may not be comfortable with the new medium. The panel consists of members from different parties, indicating that the government seeks to generate a political consensus in its push for digitalisation of the economy.

Tell me more: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naiduis the convenor of the panel, which includes Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal), Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy (Congress), Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling (Sikkim Democratic Front), Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis (both from the ruling BJP). Other panel members include NITI Aayog vice-chairman (Arvind Panagariya) and CEO (Amitabh Kant) and five special invitees including Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of the Unique Identity Authority of India.

40

What is it? The number of locations at which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches on Wednesday to check black money held with currency exchanges, hawala dealers and others.

Why is it important? Indicates the government is pushing for a well-rounded attack on tracking down illegal hoarders of cash and suggests that there are ways in which some circumvent the laws, highlighting the need for their stricter enforcement. The authorities seized Rs 1.2 crore cash. The ED, which is responsible for enforcing the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, attached assets worth over Rs 9,000 crore for hawala and money laundering crimes in 2014-15, which is likely to go up this fiscal. However, the high pendency – 4,776 cases pending in terms of number of investigations initiated as on March 31, 2015 – is a cause of concern.

Tell me more: As many as 100 investigators along with police personnel have undertaken the searches across the country.

7.3%

What is it? India’s economic growth rate in the July-September quarter of 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is marginally higher than the rate recorded in the June ended quarter (7.1%) though slower than the 7.6% growth in the second quarter of 2015-16. It also fell short of 7.5% forecast by a Reuters poll of economists. The increase in acceleration in the second quarter this fiscal over the first was led by agriculture (compared to 1.8% in the first quarter) while manufacturing grew by 7.1% (compared to 9.1% in the previous quarter). Consumer spending, which accounts for 56% of India’s $2 trillion economy, is likely to be hit due to the recent demonetisation announcement and it remains to be seen how this affects India’s economic growth rates in the next few quarters.

Tell me more: India retains the tag of the fastest growing major economy as per the second quarter data. China recorded a growth rate of 6.7% in the quarter ended September.

32.5 million

What is it? The number of barrels of oil the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would produce per day from January 1. OPEC is a group of 14 major oil-exporting nations that account for a third of global production.

Why is it important? This is a cut by 1.2 million barrels per day, representing about 1% of global production and the first joint decision to reduce production since 2008. The agreement to cut production is to prop up oil prices. Due to an oversupply of oil, prices plunged from about $100 per barrel in 2014 to less than $40 per barrel this year, affecting oil-dependent economies such as Saudi Arabia. OPEC members have said they are looking at levels of $55-60 per barrel; a failure to clinch the deal may have sent oil prices down to $30 per barrel, according to analysts.

Tell me more: After the announcement, Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, increased by 10%.

1 million

What is it? The number of Google accounts whose security has been breached since August by a new variant of Android malware, according to a report by security firm Check Point Software Services.

Why is it important? This is likely the biggest single theft of Google accounts. The malicious software called Gooligan is disguised as legitimate apps to steal authentication tokens that can be used to access data from Google Play, Gmail, Google photos, Google docs, Google Drive among others. The malware attacks 13,000 devices every day, potentially affecting those on Android 4 (Jelly Bean and KitKat) and Android 5 (Lollipop) – this represents nearly three-fourths of the Android devices in use today. About 57% of such devices are located in Asia, 19% in the Americas, 15% in Africa and 9% in Europe.

Tell me more: A device is infected when the user downloads and installs a Gooligan-infected app (from third-party app stores or malicious links), after which data about the device is sent to the campaign’s Command and Control server. This is followed by the malicious software rooting the device (unlocking the operating system) after which it downloads a module that allows Gooligan to steal information, install apps from Google Play and rate them and install adware to generate revenue.

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News in Numbers, May 12, 2016: New drought policies, some Amazon India sellers in trouble…

3

What is it? The number of months the government has to set up a National Disaster Mitigation Fund to tackle drought, per Supreme Court directions.

Why is it important? This would accelerate and streamline drought relief and preparations, and mitigate its impact including farmer suicides. Over 330 million people (about a quarter of India’s population) are drought-hit and 116 farmers have committed suicide in 10 states so far.

Tell me more: Other measures listed by the Supreme Court include: replace colonial methods and manuals with a modern, transparent, rule-based framework to deal with drought, implement provisions of the National Disaster Management Act and formulate a national policy under it, revise the existing drought management manual of 2009 and standardised nomenclature. The apex court rapped three states – Gujarat (for delay in acknowledging drought), Haryana and Bihar (for not declaring drought at all).

 

Rs 9,000 crore

What is it? The value of domestic assets and shares of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is reportedly considering to attach, in relation to the IDBI bank loan fraud case.

Why is it important? Mallya’s assets and shares are being examined to be attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act so that no third-party rights can be created in them, according to an ED official. However, attachment and attempts to sell Mallya’s properties have not fetched the authorities/banks anything so far.

Tell me more: The IDBI Bank loan fraud case pertains to an allegation by the investigating agency that Mallya has siphoned off Rs 430 crore from the Rs 900 crore loan given by the bank to his now defunct firm Kingfisher Airlines, to buy properties overseas. The grounded airline owes around Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks.

 

50

What is it? The number of sellers of Amazon India who have been alleged to falsely claiming credit on Central Value Added Tax (Cenvat).

Why is it important? The alleged tax evasion – using the provision that allows tax relief on inputs for a product or service – could be about Rs 118 crore. It also highlights the tough time global tech companies – others include Facebook, Uber and Google – have been facing in India.

Tell me more: The authorities has questioned Amazon India and conducted searches in its business premises across the country to determine if Amazon is involved in any wrongdoing related to this case.

 

4

What is it? The number of telecom circles Vodafone will launch 4G services in, over the next few months.

Why is it important? This would help India’s second largest telecom service provider to cover 1,000 cities across nine circles by the end of this year, which will likely contribute to the onset of a pricing war and consolidation in the industry. Bharti Airtel is aggressively pushing to establish dominance in the 4G segment before Reliance Jio’s expected launch by the end of the year.

Tell me more: The new circles are Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh East and West Bengal. According to a Deloitte India report, a third of the mobile users in the country are expected to adopt 4G services by the end of the year, possibly resulting in the reduction of traditional voice calls.

 

11

What is it? The average age of US technology companies that went public in 2014, compared to four years in 1999.

Why is it important? An indicator that these firms are shying away from an initial public offering (IPO) longer than earlier due to rapid increase in private investor money. Poor performance of IPOs of tech companies in the last few years have not helped. This is likely to change the way investments are done in tech startups, given that investors have to wait longer to realise their returns.

Tell me more: The data is according to a research by Jay Ritter, a University of Florida professor, which points to the fact that tech companies are preferring the private route to grow into unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) and decacorns (valuation above $10 billion) instead of the public listing route.

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